The iOS has the potential to be the rebirth of the point and click adventure game. With a big gorgeous screen and instinctive gameplay, we could have a whole assortment of really enjoyable adventure titles. They could offer immersive stories along with enjoyable puzzles to tease your mind and fingers. Runaway: A Road Adventure is a new adventure game for the iOS, but does it live up to the possibilities of the medium, or crash into the mailbox right out of the driveway?

I love a good adventure game as much as the next fellow. Day of the Tentacle and Grim Fandango are of my favorite games ever. That being said, I was excited to check out a proper adventure game on the iOS. I was excited for the obtuse but somewhat logical puzzles. I was ready for some stellar animation, an interesting story, and lots of items to collect and tap my way to euphoria.

What I got was something completely different and it wasn’t in the wonderful eye-opening new experience way.

To make a long review short, run away from Runaway: A Road Adventure. You’re time is much better spent with another adventure game such as Monkey Island.

You’re still reading? Good, I like someone who likes to take in a bit of evidence instead of blindly following what is written above. Runaway has a number of problems that add up to a wholly unsatisfying adventure in gaming.

The opening cutscene in Runaway is so long that Hideo Kojima would get bored and start looking for a skip button. It is so long that I started to doubt whether this was a video game OR just a poorly animated short film. The opening breaks the first rule of storytelling and tells you everything instead of showing you. A character sits and talks to you in a dark room for a while before the camera flies around a cityscape for far too long. Then, you watch a proper cutscene where something actually happens. But this is where we hit another brick wall in enjoyment.

The voice acting in this game is some of the worst I’ve heard in awhile. It sounds like no direction was given to the actors and they have no idea what is going on with the story. The characters also only seem to be able to speak when they’re not moving and vice versa. It all feels really uncanny and sometimes the closeups on the character models are just downright upsetting.

Once you get through the 10-15 minute intro, you finally get to play a bit of the game. The controls are as simple as you could expect for an adventure game. But the main problem is your inability to distinguish what is clickable and what is not. In many adventure games, the item you’re supposed to be looking for is hidden in plain sight, but is somewhat obviously attainable. In Runaway, you’ll be spending most of your time tapping about looking for god knows what in the hopes that you’ll find something useful.

The logic behind adventure games can be obtuse at the best of times, but Runaway can sometimes be completely unfathomable. I frequently found myself in a room with a pile of things in my inventory and no clue what to do next. Usually at this point, a cooperative adventure game character would say something useful. But no, this guy only enjoys telling you what you can’t do.

The game would be so much better if they differentiated what you could click on a bit and if they tightened up presentation. Skip the entire intro and give us a quick flyby title screen then dump us right into the action. Leave a bit of intrigue. A story is the crux of an adventure game and when that crumbles and fails, you are left with a pixel hunt that no one wants to play.

Runaway does have a few highlights. The level designs are at least pretty to look at. They actually really pop on the retina display and look extremely detailed and well crafted. They're varied enough to be interesting as you slog your way through cutscenes. The controls function well enough. But, those are the bare bones minimum for a video game. What this needs is an exacto knife to trim the extra fat from the presentation, a re-dub, and animation. Then, could it attain any playable status.

I suppose if you're a fan of the PC version and you're looking for a kick of nostalgia on the go, this iOS port will do the trick. But I think it is really time to move on to bigger and better adventure game pastures.

So, skip Runaway: A Road Adventure. Skip the silly animation and voice acting. Skip the long and drawn out story. Skip the pixel hunting and instead treat yourself to other adventure games on the iOS. There are plenty around, so just take your pick and run away with that one instead.


Store Link: Runaway: A Road Adventure for iPhone | By Bulkypix | Price: $4.99 | Version: 1.1 | 173 GB | Rating 9+

5.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating